For Those Who Love Games
A Page and Two Games That Got Me + Join Us on Discord
It’s been a great couple of weeks. Some designers we admire are putting out new games as you’ll see below. We’ve just wrapped up our series playing DIE with a wonderful talkback featuring the whole cast and creator Kieron Gillen. If you’ve already listened to that, you may have heard the big news…
Many Sided Media, the team behind this newsletter, My First Dungeon, and The Twenty Sided Podcast, now has a Discord! If you’d like to come hang and talk games, we would love to have you.
The Page That Got Me: NOVA
How Spencer Campbell made me feel like a badass
First things first, this game, and specifically this spread, is the inspiration behind this series. I remember the day I got my copy in the mail. When I saw the first character class—“Sparks” as they’re referred to in-game—I ran across my apartment to my then-roommate to geek out about how goddamn cool this new game was. The Pyre class showed me in one spread that this was going to be a game I would love.
Art That Sparks the Fire
(Art by Eddie Yorke)
The art for the Pyre is the first thing that grabs you on this page. The anatomy of the mech art that Eddie created for this game highlights an important aspect of NOVA’s sparks; these aren’t Evangelion-sized mechs, these are exosuits, complementing and accounting for the pilot beneath. The scale of combat is established right away.
The Pyre has the instant cool-factor of your go-to video game character. You can imagine yourself fighting off aliens, bandits, and monsters unknown with this suit at your disposal—before you read a single mechanic.
Subscribe if you’re also dying to play NOVA.
Layout That Feeds the Flames
(Layout by Julie-Anne “JAM” Muñoz)
JAM has managed to create a layout design that feels like you have already climbed into the suit, a heads-up display in front of you of all the powers and mods at your fingertips. True for the entire book, JAM’s layout reinforces the genre, setting, and overall tone of NOVA at every stage. The use of color and texture—especially in the black backgrounds—is my personal favorite aspect. This is a badass sci-fi game set in a world where the sun has exploded. And that’s exactly what it looks like.
Writing That Keeps it Burning
(Writing & Design by Spencer Campbell)
Spencer set out to create a true power fantasy where you get a badass moment every turn of combat. The Lumen system at the core of NOVA does this extremely well, opting out of dice rolls in combat in favor of spending resources to activate powers. But it's in Spencer’s writing that you get that permission from NOVA to be the ultimate fighting machine. I’ll let my favorite bit from this page speak for itself:
You have the right trick for every situation, so long as it calls for violence.
Outliers by Samantha Leigh
Outliers, a solo TTRPG about a research assistant working for a bizarre lab, was born from my desire to write a unique aspect of my past into a game. I’ve worked as a research assistant in 4 different labs, each wildly different from each other but similar in the amount of chaos that goes on behind the scenes.
I wanted to create a game that strayed away from the orderly, sterile research seen in most media. In reality, research is messy. Behind the clean-pressed button-ups and spotless lab benches there are scribbled sticky notes, coding errors, and malfunctioning equipment. Lab work is much more “human” than the public tends to see, with all its flaws and beauty.
Outliers is my love letter to research and offers a peek behind the scenes of what it’s like to work as a research assistant. Yes, it’s a game of absurdism, where your participants might be clones or time travelers. However, once you strip away the strangeness, you’re left with an accurate picture of the responsibilities of a research assistant.
The entire team from the Far Horizon’s CoOp (James Hanna, Carly A-F, J. Boone Dryden, and Marx Shepherd) made Outliers come to life in such a fantastic way. I hope it can provide plenty of laughs and an interesting view into the world of research.
Insurgent by Cezar Capacle
Insurgent is a solo/co-op tabletop RPG about toppling tyrants and looking good while doing it. The game invites you to step into the role of a daring rebel, to challenge oppressive powers, and turn the tide of the fight. Shape your own narrative and world—be it in an arcane kingdom, a contemporary cityscape, or an alien future—with a versatile system that incentivizes vibrant, imaginative descriptions to enhance your dice rolls.
Insurgent is designed to be pick-up-and-play. Its core mechanic fits neatly onto a single page, making it accessible and lightweight. With the help of 14 random tables, you are able to craft your audacious character, your world, and the missions you must take against tyranny!
The fate of your world rests on your decision, making each strike an opportunity to disrupt the status quo. Through your daring actions and your strong resolve the sparks of resistance you kindle may just be enough to inspire hope and ignite the flames of change.
Insurgent: This is where your rebellion begins.
6/2 - New Season Announcement!!
Thanks for reading Twenty Sided Newsletter! Subscribe to bring a fleeting bit of joy to our lives.